After reading Gerstein’s assigned article, I really got to thinking about what is needed to move to Education 3.0. Although I am not a teacher, I know from my son and my nieces and nephews that many teachers still use a very traditional, Web 1.0, method of teaching. Furthermore, I work at a university and I believe that 95% of instructors use a Web 1.0 approach in teaching their courses. Furthermore, universities are dinosaurs and change is very slow to come. While some instructors may see the value of self-directed learning and the use of technology, others do not.
The first question I asked myself is what does teaching look like in Education 3.0? Thankfully Gerstein covered this very well in her blog post Show Learners the Possibilities and then Get Out of the Way. According to Gerstein, most transformative learning is self-directed. Learners are given the freedom to decide what they are going to learn and how. The traditional role of the teacher has to change in order for this to happen. Gerstein outlined what this role should look like. Teachers should act as observers, as resources for their students (mentors and experts), and they should demonstrate technology to students. What results is emergent, fun learning. Gerstein describes it as messy and unpredictable. However, she believes that deeper more meaningful learning takes place as a result. This tweet sums up Gerstein’s philosophy of Education 3.0 well:
Where does technology fit in? In order to give learners “voice and choice”, they have to have open access to technology and be able to use technological tools in whatever ways help them best learn and demonstrate their learning.
I think Gerstein’s approach is excellent, and when employed would result in confident, creative students. One thing I question is whether not students might feel overwhelmed by all the choices available to them in this model. However, I think with supportive teachers who act as mentors and coaches the students will come to feel comfortable exploring and creating.
As far as I know, Gerstein’s model of teaching for Education 3.0 is not commonly applied. For example, in Benita‘s blog post she mentioned that teacher’s might be too rooted in tradition in order to adapt to Education 3.0. In addition, Erin questioned why teachers do not seem to be moving toward this model of teaching. She wondered whether it might be that teachers are hesitant because they can’t clearly see what their new roles will be, and are scared of the unknown. As I am not a teacher, I question whether this has something to do with the way that teachers have been trained. For those of you with education degrees, please let me know. Do you feel like university prepared you to teach in Education 3.0?
In terms of university teaching moving toward Education 3.0, I believe a systemic change is needed. At the U of R, I know that there are some champion professors who teach in a way that they hope leads to transformative learning. However, many professors are focused very strictly on sharing content with little or no interaction or technology. I came across a great article called Why the University of the Future Will Have No Classrooms but Lots of Tech. The article explains how a former MIT Dean, Christine Ortiz, is building a new kind of university that is preparing students for the 21st century. She believes that universities have been teaching the same way since the middle ages, and that universities take far too long to make decisions. We certainly have not come as far as predicted, judging from this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Ortiz’s idea is to build a non-profit research institution (open by 2020) that allows students to design their own learning pathway independent of discipline. Technology plays a key role. Her team has developed a “software platform for computer-guided intelligent curriculum design” to help guide students learning. Here is a great quote from Ortiz:
The world’s challenges do not fit neatly under a single subject area, rather they are interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, and require diverse thinking to develop solutions, which our higher education system currently does not facilitate.
Granted this is only one example of Education 3.0 in Higher Ed, it really is a great one. We know that governments are spending less and less on education, and institutions are relying on tuition dollars more than ever. I do believe that higher ed intuitions will have to adapt in order to compete. The U of R may never get to where Ortiz’s institution is, but I hopefully teaching practices will evolve and technology will become more integrated into the traditional classroom.